This elegant medal not only celebrates a great man, but also supports the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for cancer research.
"Sporting Hero" is a title bestowed perhaps too often these days, but there is no doubt that Sir Bobby Robson richly deserved such an accolade. Sir Robert William "Bobby" Robson was born in Sacriston, County Durham on 18 February 1933. His father, Philip, not only instilled in Bobby an early sense of discipline and a fierce work ethic, but also sparked his passion for football – taking young Bobby on the weekly pilgrimage to watch Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. By the age of 11, Bobby was spending his Saturday mornings playing for Langley Park Juniors – and was a star of the Under-18s aged just 15. Even when his son hit the bright lights of a Fulham professional signing, Philip insisted on a profession to ‘fall back on’, with Bobby juggling football and an electrician’s trade in the early days. But that fallback was never needed as he enjoyed huge success at Fulham and later moved - for a then record fee of £25,000 - to play for West Bromwich Albion. In 1957 he savoured his first taste of England glory, earning the first of his 20 caps and scoring twice against France on his debut. Sir Bobby’s successful playing career was only equalled by his winning career as a manager, which began where else but at his old club, Fulham. Although his first managerial job was a difficult one - ending in a sacking that he only discovered through the press - 13 years of glory followed at Ipswich, where he became something of a folk hero, steering the club to FA and UEFA Cup triumph.
Mirroring the achievements of his playing career, Sir Bobby soon rose to international fame, leading England through trials and tribulations at Mexico 86, the European Championships in 1988 and perhaps most famously to the semi-finals at Italia 90, where they came closest to World Cup victory since 1966. Sir Bobby earned the respect of players and managers alike, going on to nurture great success at PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Barcelona. In 1999 his career came full circle when he returned to Britain to manage the club that shaped his childhood and his dreams - Newcastle United, where he remained until his retirement in 2004. Diagnosed with cancer five times, he finally succumbed to the disease on 31 July 2009. Just one week before his death he watched the original 1990 World Cup squads and guests replay that fateful World Cup semi-final in the Bobby Robson Trophy Match. The 15-minute ovation he received from the adoring crowd was testament to his work, not just in football, but also in creating what has become his legacy - the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for cancer research. Sir Bobby is sadly missed by football fans and colleagues everywhere and will be remembered as a true Geordie gentleman. When told that his own cancer could no longer be treated, he reflected without bitterness, "...everyone has to go sometime and I have enjoyed every minute."